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Determination of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water using automated solid-phase extraction and LC-MS/MS

1. Goal

To demonstrate an efficient and reliable solid-phase extraction method with the Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ AutoTrace™ 280 PFAS Solid-Phase Extraction instrument for the determination of per- and poly-fluorinated compounds in drinking water per U.S. EPA Method 537.1

2. Introduction

Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and GenX chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries globally.1,2 These compounds have a wide range of commercial product applications including industrial polymers, stain repellents, surfactants, waterproofing products, packaging, and aqueous film forming foams used for firefighting. PFAS are highly soluble in water, chemically stable, persistent in the environment, and can accumulate in the human body over time, leading to adverse human health effects.3 PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the U.S. due to their persistence and potential human health risks.

In November 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) published Method 537.1 “Determination of selected per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances in drinking water by solid phase extraction and LC/MS/MS”.4 The method uses an offline solid-phase extraction (SPE) with liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to extract, enrich, and determine 18 PFAS in drinking water. Currently most testing laboratories perform the sample extraction manually using a vacuum manifold, which is labor-intensive, timeconsuming, and the flow rate through the cartridge is difficult to control. There is a high demand for automation of the SPE procedure.

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